Friday, 26 September 2014

A busy blogger

I have a lot to share on this post.  First of all I am proud to show you a tutorial I wrote featured on The Daily Stitch blog.  I made the table runner, table mats and coasters last month and really enjoyed the challenge and experience.  Annie from The Village Haberdashery took lovely photos and I'm really pleased with how my project looks.  I got a real buzz from seeing my handiwork on a different website from this one.  I'm making a baby quilt and tutorial for her blog again soon and I'm excited about that as well.

Garden Party


As I try to save money for the long arm quilter, this week I have worked on a project made entirely from scraps.  The only thing I had to buy this week was the wadding because the front is pieced from scraps and the backing I had in stash.  I know that it is ridiculous but when I work with scraps I feel that I am getting something for free.  All the fabrics on the front have been used in other projects, some of them in projects on here, so it feels great to have a by-product quilt.

A friend lent me a book this week, Sunday Morning Quilts, which has been a revelation.  There is a great section on making a slab of fabric and this is the technique I've used here in this baby boy play mat.  I'm really pleased that I joined colours together and also used scraps to make the binding as well.  The binding I did on the machine and is my best so far - I feel I am getting better at this.  It wasn't planned, but this would also work well as an "i spy" quilt and there are lots of possibilities for playing pairs.  This quilt is now on sale on Etsy here.

"Scrapisfaction" is how I am feeling about this.  I've decided to set myself a challenge each month of making a "scrapisfaction" project.  I think that using scraps makes you think harder about what you are doing but also makes you more creative as a result.  I, like every quilter on the planet, have a few scraps and I would rather make them useful than leave them languishing in bags and boxes, waiting to see the light of day.  What scrapisfaction project do you recommend I try next?

Thanks for popping by!

Saturday, 20 September 2014

If at first you don't succeed... cheat!

Once a month I attend a "block a month" group at a local patchwork shop.  There are four of us who attend and we always learn lots and have a laugh.  We seem to have diverted from our "block a month" title recently because we are all keen to learn as many techniques as we can and often what we want to learn doesn't fit in a traditional sampler quilt.

Today the aim was to master "apple core" on a sewing machine but it really didn't happen for me.  I just could not sew the curve and I ended up having such trouble that my shoulder ached and I had to have an impromptu massage in the shop from Doctor Amy (I told you we had diverted some what!)  About an hour and a half into the class and I felt I had achieved nothing.  I was still having a good time, but I was a little frustrated at my poor efforts.

Enter Bondaweb!  It was time to do some cheating.  I cut out my apple cores, affixed the bondaweb and ironed them to some calico.  VoilĂ  - I now have the beginning of a cushion front.  There has been no sewing so far and I feel really guilty about not sewing but this just wasn't going to happen for me otherwise.  

Most of these fabrics are scraps from my recent Quarter Square Triangle Quilt so at least I wasn't cutting up and wasting new fabric in my earlier attempt.  When finished this is bound to go beautifully with that quilt, though I won't tell the recipient of the swizz I've pulled off today.

Thank you for visiting!

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Quarter Square Triangles Quilt: a quilt in progress

At the moment I seem to snatching odd moments at the sewing machine.  I am juggling work, home and my social life so I have to plan my days really carefully and be sure to squeeze in a bit of sewing time, even if it is just an hour, here and there.  Today I've been out for a meal, but before going out I managed to get an hour at the machine and finish piecing the quarter square triangle quilt I started just over a week ago,

This quilt is proving to be a pleasure.  I was glad to be using fabrics from other quilts but I have now joined these with four bold solid colours (yellow, turquoise, green and cerise) and I love how they work with the patterned quarter square triangles.  Solid fabrics are also considerably cheaper, which for someone on a reduced a fabric budget is also a good thing.  My husband, Ezzie, says he likes how this quilt is taking shape, which is an unusual comment from him; normally he likes to see a quilt complete before expressing a view.  (Or maybe being surrounded by all this fabrics and quilts is finally beginning to pay off and he can start to envisage the final quilt before its completion.)

The backing and binding fabrics have already been chosen, so I hope to make a good start on the quilting tomorrow.  I've used these fabrics in previous quilts (though not together) but feel that they will complement the fabrics in the quilt, as well as make the back a bold statement in its own regard.   I love both these fabrics so it will be nice to work with them again.

Thanks for stopping by.  Let's see if I make a Friday Finish.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Give us a Clue: a finished quilt

I'm sorry in advance for the vagueness of this post.  I started this quilt after the Festival of Quilts and finally finished it this week.  I have mentioned it a couple of times but deliberately didn't post any photos because I had wanted to put together a tutorial for an online shop.  I made a pitch and earlier this week the shop owner gave me the green light to make the quilt and write a tutorial.  I am extremely excited, but I can't reveal the quilt here until it has been on her website.  I am going to show snapshots of the quilt, but I won't show it in its entirety, so please think of this quilt as a game of "Give us a Clue".

This quilt is going to a couple from work who are about to have a baby girl.  They have a couple of pet cats, so cat fabric had to make it into the quilt.  I really love this pink cat fabric, and am so pleased that I bought plenty of it in this and the other colour ways as well.  Far Far Away fabrics by Heather Ross also feature prominently.

The binding is my first effort at machine binding.  It's not perfect, but it is reasonable enough and was considerably quicker to complete.  I've seen a few blog posts and tutorials on this now, and everyone says that you get better with practice, so I will do just that.

I am so pleased with the backing fabric, which I will be buying more of because it is brilliant for baby quilts and bringing lots of colours together.  I also did a good job of keeping the edges straight.  To divert your attention from looking too closely at the quilt backing, you can see that my cat Brutus made a cameo appearance.  (Thanks Brutus!)

I hope you like my "Give us a Clue" quilt, despite not seeing it whole.  Trust me, it is nice.  In a while, when my second version is made and the tutorial written, no doubt I will be shouting from the rafters and showing plenty of more complete photos.

Thank you for stopping by.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Quarter square triangle quilt: a WIP

The best projects can be those that are the least planned and the most spontaneous.  Today I went sewing with friends and had no idea what I would be working on.  I grabbed a load of random fabrics (most of which I had used in other quilts) and set off.  During the five minute drive I started to wonder about making quarter square triangles and by the time I had got the machine set up and the fabrics out it was as if this was a long prepared quilt and that these fabrics had had this destiny all along.

I have made about half the QST blocks.  There are other fabrics that are going to be added.  I am pleased that there are so many colours in this quilt because I think the final effect will be both striking and bold.    Some of these fabrics are making their third outing now, but each and every time they have been used in different patterns and alongside different fabrics.  I like seeing a fabric take on different characteristics in this way.

I am going to put these blocks next to solid fabrics to create a checkerboard effect.  The solid fabrics I don't yet have but I am going to include bold, happy colours and avoid pastels and shades.  I am thinking of adding colours like green and royal blue, which don't actually figure in the colour scheme yet, but which would be sure to mix it up!

It's back to work for me tomorrow so this little project is going to motivate me to finish my work quickly and get home and on to the sewing machine.  Have a great week!

Friday, 5 September 2014

Liberty Lifestyle Quilt - A finished quilt

I'm pleased that I have finished a quilt despite being back at work this week.  I'm also pleased with the quilt as a whole.  White is a favourite of mine at the moment and I think it works so beautifully with these Liberty Lifestyle Bloomsbury Gardens fabrics.  The white fabric here is what I call "white on white" because there is a white pattern on the top, which you sometimes see and sometimes don't.  It makes it a little less harsh and a little more interesting than plain white fabric.

The coloured squares I put together using the string piece method and then cut them at an angle.  It's a good and effective way of making the fabrics come in to close contact with one another.  The only difficulty is that because the fabrics are then cut on the bias there is some give when you are sewing the squares together and I think this explains why my piecing is not as accurate as I would otherwise have liked.  Oh well!  This quilt is not going to be sold or given away, and as I love the fabrics so much I can live with these imperfections.

It has been quilted using tramlines either side of the rows with the lime green Aurifil thread #1231 on the front.  I think it brings out the greens in the fabric which are ever present but never obtrusive.  On the back I used the turquoise thread #2810 which is a good match with the backing fabric.  I chose a very plain, but very tranquil, light blue fabric for the binding.  This colour does not figure exactly in the quilt but I think it harmonises with the blues and greens that are in many of the fabrics and are the centre of the flowers on the back.

This quilt is going in my spare bedroom to join another quilt and cushion using these fabrics.  I like the fact that there are some repetition of fabrics here but then suddenly new ones have been added to the mix.  I think as a trio of items they will look great together, but they are also each a little individual.

Thank you for visiting.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Work and Sewing Life Balance

This week marked the end of summer for me because since Monday I have been back at work.  Having six weeks off in the summer is the best perk of my job and I like to make the most of all that glorious time.  This summer I was really fortunate to be able to spend time with friends sewing, usually two days in the week.  I love sewing with others.  I get to admire other people's fabric choices, take a look at their ideas, share and learn tricks and tips and it's always good fun (we do have a world to put to rights as well as all this sewing).  I find that sewing with my friends increases my creativity and improves my sewing.  

I'm already missing the luxury of time.  Today is the first day since being back at work that I have touched the sewing machine and I felt that I just had to sneak in a couple of hours and plod on with an ongoing project, rather than get my creative juices flowing and start some new ambitious project.  Work is already reducing the time I can devote to my creativity.  I know time with my sewing has done me good today so I am determined to find the time tomorrow to do the same.  For me, my work life balance has to feature sewing.

I learned to make Cathedral Windows in June.  Since then I've seen two of my friends finish adorable Cathedral Windows quilts, whilst mine has been a "dip in and out" kind of project.  I love the look of these quilts; I think they are as charming as a quilt can be, but there is just so much preparation and the progress is slow!

In July I started my quilt.  I chose a simple and cheap pink with white dot fabric for the "lead" and low volume fabrics for the "glass".  I like the way these look together, and I am pleased I made the lead in a colour because I think it makes a change from the typical white fabric I see all over Pinterest.  I am certainly pleased I used a cheap fabric for the lead.  I have two metres of this dedicated to this project, yet you see very little.  It easily uses twice your normal amount of fabric.  Now I understand why people tend to make Cathedral Window cushions; cushions don't eat up lots of fabric and are a lot less time-consuming.  

I have had to add low volume fabrics to my stash for this project because I didn't have too many of those before.  As someone who loves novelty fabrics, this is a great project for showcasing them by making them the centre of the circle.  (Incidentally, this is just a small section.  I have done way more of this since July than you see here.)

As I am now back at work, progress with this quilt will probably be slow but at least I have taken back some control today and asserted that sewing time is important.  Regardless of my work commitments, I have to spend time at the machine to feel balanced again.

Thank you for visiting.